South African Black Lawyers Association joins racism furore

Cape Town- South Africa (PANA) -- The Black Lawyers Association on Wednesday distanced itself from the statement made by the Cape Bar Council when reacting to allegations of racism among white judges in the Cape High Court of South Africa.
Earlier this week, the Cape High Court has been rocked by allegations of racism and Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson on Monday announced that a subcommittee has been appointed to investigate the claims.
He said he had requested the committee to give urgent attention to the matter and report to the heads of courts as soon as possible.
The allegations surfaced when Cape Provincial Division Judge President John Hlophe compiled a report alleging racism and handed it to the Cape Justice Minister, Brigitte Mabandla.
Among the allegations were that a white judge had told his black colleagues that black people had corruption in their genes.
In a joint statement with the General Council of the Bar (GCB), the Cape Bar Council denied the allegations.
However, a statement issued by advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza, chairperson of BLA said: "The BLA, including those members of the BLA who serve in the Cape Bar Council, distances itself from the statement issued by GCB and the Cape Bar Council.
"This is because the BLA was not consulted properly.
In any event their preferred route would have been to seek an audience with the Judge President Hlophe before condemning him in the media.
" The statement said issues of transformation and racism in the legal profession were real and that its members were not prepared to "gloss over the subject.
" "To deny that there is racism in the procession is a negation of history.
BLA cannot be party to a reformist approach to a debate that should no longer be part of serious public discourse in a post-democratic South Africa.

16 february 2005 08:50:00

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